Authors: Amy Miles
By: Amy Miles
Copyright © 2011 by Amy Miles
This book is a work of fiction.
The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real.
Any resemblance to person, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights are reserved.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.
LOVE AND THANKS
For my family
A droplet of crimson blood trailed towards the tip of the lowered sword as it paused in its quest for death.
The finely dressed man turned, his pale white skin glowing in the moonlight directly above.
A full moon.
“Roseline,” the man called, his voice hauntingly calm in the midst of such desolation.
Vladimir Enescue’s piercing black eyes turned slowly in search of her.
Roseline’s skin crawled as she cradled her sixteen year old sister in her arms.
Her white gown was soiled with the blood of her family, her friends, and her wedding guests.
“Come out, my love.
The stone isles ran red with blood, oozing slowly towards the altar where Roseline Dragomir knelt.
She could still see her father’s hand, his golden family ring splattered with blood, sticking out from behind the altar.
She hadn’t seen her mother fall, but Roseline had heard her terrified screams cut off mere seconds after the massacre had begun.
The wails of the dying had finally ceased, leaving only an eerie silence in the church.
Roseline covered Adela’s mouth with her hand.
Terrified baby blue eyes stared back at her, eyes that pleaded with her to escape.
But where could they go?
’s sadistic older brother, had blocked the doors as
eagerly murdered all those present for the midnight ceremony.
Roseline had warned her father about
She’d seen the evil in his cold black eyes the moment she’d first met him.
But her father hadn’t listened to her pleas.
All he’d cared about was
A lot of good that did him now!
twirled around and around through the pile of bodies, giggling like a drunken fool.
“It was lovely to meet your family Roseline.
They were all just dying to meet me,” he cackled, tucking his stained sword back into its sheath.
Roseline’s heart beat frantically in her chest.
Adela trembled in her arms as Roseline looked around, desperately searching for a weapon.
She had to find something she could use to stop the monster from hurting her sister.
She motioned for Adela to remain hidden as she lunged for the golden cross that’d fallen from the altar.
Roseline rose to her full height, praying she appeared more confident than she really was.
She clung to the cross with a death grip, praying that God would forgive her for using his cross in such a vile manner.
“Leave us alone.”
turned towards her, revealing bloody teeth as he grinned.
“So there you are.
I was beginning to think you were going to be rude on our wedding night.”
He swiped his tongue across his lips, closing his eyes as he enjoyed the flavor.
Roseline forced herself to look only at Vladimir, her…husband.
By all rights she belonged to him now.
She’d spoken the damning vow, albeit against her wishes.
“Please, let my sister go free.”
Lucien’s laughter sent chills racing down her spine.
If she’d thought
was the epitome of evil, she’d been wrong.
Lucien’s lifeless eyes flamed with blood lust, his pallid skin rosy with excitement.
Lucien loved a good massacre.
He didn’t even try to hide his glee as he licked the stream of blood flowing from her cousin’s neck.
“Why should we?
She’s your wedding gift.”
Roseline flinched, unable to stop herself from darting a worried glance towards her sister’s hiding place.
In a flash, Lucien rose with a struggling Adela in his hand.
His fingers wound tightly through her white blond hair as he pulled her forward.
“Please,” Roseline cried, dropping to her knees in front of her husband.
“Please have mercy on her.”
Her trembling hands pawed at his legs as she fought back the bile rising in her throat.
muttered, rolling the word around on his tongue as if he’d never heard it before.
“Rise, dear Roseline.”
She stood, her knees loudly knocking together as she reached for Adela.
Lucien smirked as he held her sister just out of reach.
Adela strained to touch Roseline’s fingers but Lucien’s cruel cat and mouse game amused him too much.
“Tonight is a celebration.
Of our union…and your birth.”
’s loud voice boomed through the tomb like church.
Roseline’s brow knit as she turned towards
“My Lord?” She worked hard to keep the terror out of her voice as she spoke to him with the title that was fitting for a man of his stature.
“It is the Blood moon, my love.
We have little time,”
whispered, staring up at the moon that was nearly directly overhead.
Roseline’s stomach churned at the reverent awe in his voice.
His brother yanked Adela’s head to the side, presenting
with her bared neck.
Adela’s whimpering turned into wailing pleas for mercy.
Her terrified eyes locked onto Roseline’s, her hands outstretched.
Don’t!” Roseline screamed as a glint of silver flashed.
A gush of blood exploded from Adela’s neck, her grimace fading as her life’s blood drained away.
“Hurry brother,” Lucien warned.
“The Blood moon won’t last long.”
“Yes, you’re right of course,”
muttered, wiping the knife clean.
He approached Roseline, a look of slight regret on his face.
“I’m truly sorry my dear.
This will only hurt for a moment.
And then we will be together forever.”
Roseline’s eyes remained locked onto her dying sister as she felt the dagger plunge into her heart.
Lucien turned with a billow of his cloak and began setting the church ablaze.
Roseline’s knees gave way as flames licked up the church walls, charring the tapestries that depicted hand woven likenesses of Christ.
Blackness swooped in as Roseline collapsed to the floor, hovering on the edge of losing consciousness.
She writhed in agony until something sweet dripped into her mouth.
Roseline weakly licked her lips, savoring the taste.
“Drink, my love.”
With whispered words,
worked his enchantments under the light of the full moon.
A burning began in her stomach, radiating out of her with frightening speed.
Her toes curled, fingers clenched into claws as she clung to the taste.
The need gave way to unrelenting hunger.
The stabbing in her chest vanished, replaced by healing warmth.
And then…the pain began.
, Present Day
Roseline Enescue raced down the dank corridor, her hands skimming the smooth stone as she threw herself around the corner.
Roseline could hear dripping in the distance.
She was getting close.
Bright aqua eyes scanned the dark tunnel ahead.
It was hard to see through the curtain of spider webs draped from the low ceiling.
Roseline slowed, clawing her way through the silky strands that masked her path.
She had to be careful.
The moon was nearly set and her entire family had returned not long ago.
Too many ears might catch the sound of her escape.
But there was only one person she feared the most.
The agony in her jaw intensified as she thought of her most recent punishment.
Her husband had made sure to leave his mark tonight.
It’d taken her several hours of slow, painful healing, before she’d finally been able to act on her plan of escape.
Doubts plagued her mind as she rushed through the secret passage.
Could she really escape
Would she live through the punishment she would endure if he caught her?
Roseline’s desperation drove her forward, forgoing all of the warning signs blaring in her mind.
She had no other choice.
She had to leave, to escape
’s brutal tyranny.
Her feet barely touched the stone floor as she neared her destination.
Her limp would be a problem once she reached open ground, but she couldn’t wait any longer.
The sun would rise soon.
This was her only chance.
A hint of light filtered through the darkness a hundred feet ahead.
Moonlight drifted down through the grate in the courtyard well.
To her knowledge, Roseline was the only being, living or otherwise, that knew of its existence.
If she was wrong…Roseline shook her head.
She refused to think on it.
Her pace slowed as she approached the light.
Unable to stop herself, Roseline inched forward, desperate to taste the sweet early morning air, smell the tantalizing scent of freedom.
Fall had arrived and along with it the blanket of cool that felt heavenly on her skin.
Gone were the sweltering days of summer.
This was her favorite time of year, but she wouldn’t be around to enjoy it.
Tilting her head to the side, Roseline strained to hear any sounds on the castle grounds.
A deep ache radiated up her spine, pulling her neck muscles taut.
She gingerly rubbed the base of her skull.
Roseline had been lucky this time.
’s anger had waned much earlier than normal.
She suspected the source of his barely restrained exhilaration had been the masquerade ball he’d planned to attend in the next town over.
A temptation far too great for
He never missed a chance to stain the streets with blood.
The night’s sky began to brighten as pinpricks of dawn’s first light spread along the horizon.
Roseline’s family would soon begin to bed down after their long night of debauchery.
With any luck they’d already begun to slip into a drunken stupor, their blood lust sated for the time being.
It was time.
Roseline pulled her bag tightly over her shoulder and stretched towards the grate overhead.
The instant she heard a foot shift on the gravel Roseline snatched her hand back from the light.
She blew out a silent breath of relief.
The stone wall she cowered against, buried deeply in shadow, was cool and moist against her feverish skin.
Roseline strained up on her toes to look around.
All she could make out was a broad back with long golden blond hair dancing in the gentle breeze.
Her breath caught as the man’s deep sigh shattered the early morning calm.
She recognized him instantly.
Roseline gripped the wall, her nails clawing deeply into the stone, as she fought against the urge to cry out to him.
Fane was her closest friend.
In truth, he was the sole reason Roseline was still alive.
For years he’d cared for her, helped her to heal from the countless wounds
But despite the bond of love she felt for Fane, revealing her plan to him would end badly.
Not that he wouldn’t want Roseline to escape.
If anything, he’d offer to go with her.
Fane’s devotion to Roseline extended beyond life and death.
But Roseline couldn’t risk it.
would be on a rampage once he discovered Roseline’s disappearance.
She refused to add Fane’s betrayal on top.
“She doesn’t answer her door.
I’m worried,” Fane groaned, rising to pace the courtyard.
His shoes ground against the gravel path that surrounded the well.
“Have you seen her?” Fane asked his unseen companion.
Roseline heard the nervous chuckle and instantly deciphered its owner.
Her keeper, Vasile Serban, was sneaking information to Fane about her welfare.
Her fear for Fane overshadowed the warmth she felt by his concern.
If Fane was seeking help from Vasile, that meant only one thing.
His life was in danger.
Although Roseline dearly loved the aged man, she’d never fooled herself into thinking he was anything more that what he really was…
’s lap dog.
Vasile’s voice croaked.
Roseline could picture him perfectly.
His wild mane of marble streaked hair, obnoxiously large nose and left eye brow that twitched when he was nervous.
“She was sent to her room afterward.”
“And you didn’t think to check on her?” Fane growled, anger tingeing his words. Fane’s knuckles cracked as he clenched his fists tightly.
She heard Vasile’s pat on Fane’s back, the billow of their floor length cloaks and the gravely chuckle as Vasile led them away.
“She will be fine Fane.
You always worry too much.”
Roseline waited, on edge, until she felt confident they’d entered the castle.
She was sure neither of them suspected her treachery.
If they had, Roseline wouldn’t have made it this far.
Minutes crawled by at a snails pace as Roseline waited, praying Fane had made it to his room on the far side of the castle.
Even then she wondered if he might hear her footsteps.
His hearing was impeccable.
Biting her lower lip, careful not to draw blood, she inched the grate upward.
The groan of shifting metal echoed loudly.
Roseline winced, stilling the rise and fall of her chest as she forced her lungs to remain motionless.
She listened, but there weren’t any sounds of rushing feet or cries announcing her escape.
Roseline lifted her duffle bag up through the opening then quickly followed it.
She knelt, inching the grate back into place, careful to cover her tracks.
Throwing her bag over her shoulder, Roseline raced through the courtyard and out into the garden grounds.
She flew over grassy hills, past blooming flowers lightly kissed with dew and down winding rock paths.
A stone wall towered overhead, but Roseline barely hesitated a second before she leapt.
Her feet planted on the wall, racing upward.
Pushing from the balls of her feet, Roseline leapt to the nearby tree, grasping the old worn branch with sure hands as she swung back and forth.
Her fingers released at the perfect moment, propelling her easily over the top of the wall.
Her landing would normally have been flawless but the pain shooting up her leg made it nearly impossible to land gracefully.
Her right leg gave out and Roseline went with it, rolling up to her feet, instantly bounding across the street.
“Ignore the pain,” Roseline grunted to herself through gritted teeth as she ducked behind a tree.
Being free of the castle grounds meant very little.
’s reach extended well beyond Castle Bran’s perimeter.
Roseline had to get out of town, out of
She glanced towards civilization, cringing at the thought of entering the human city.
But she had no other choice.
Kneeling on the damp grass, Roseline pulled out her most recent wardrobe addition.
A fashionable black trench coat.
She tucked her long bronze braid inside the coat and ran towards the heart of
, little over fifteen miles away.
Wide rimmed sunglasses would help to hide her unusual aqua eyes, but nothing could truly mask her unearthly beauty.
Roseline was well known in these parts and her reputation wasn’t exactly the most appealing.
Quite the opposite in fact.
Roseline, and every member of her rather extended family, were revered in all of
She’d been called many things during her long life.
Even a demon.
But the only name that had endured for over three centuries was Vampire.
It was a false myth that was created to describe her husband Vladimir’s insatiable lust for blood.
And as such, all Immortals had been given the vile name.
Not that Roseline blamed the humans.
Their minds couldn’t wrap around the idea of living forever.
In truth, despite Roseline’s 322 years of life as an Immortal, she still struggled to fathom life without an end.
Roseline kept her face turned away as she hurried into the town’s center.
Small shops were beginning to open.
The baker whistled as he prepped his tables with mouthwatering baked goods.
A butcher called out roughly as a delivery boy stumbled over the curb, spilling an assortment of meats onto the filthy street.
A young boy rode past on his bike, tossing newspapers wildly, most landed in bushes lining the path.
A handsome boy with startling green eyes glanced her way from the bus stop as she disappeared around the corner.
All around her
Roseline’s hunch became more pronounced as she forced herself to move at a humans pace.
It felt infuriatingly slow, but she had to blend in.
The train station was about two miles outside the city square.
Roseline sped back up once she was out of view, easily spanning the distance in a couple minutes.
As she neared the train station, Roseline slowed to a walk.
Without acknowledging the sparse crowd beginning to cluster inside the station, Roseline headed straight for the ticket booth.
“One ticket to
please,” Roseline whispered, trying to disguise her voice as she spoke to the train attendant.
His muddy brown eyes searched her veiled face with mild interest.
Roseline turned away, fearing the man’s scrutiny.